PAL staff in CDO unaffected by cutback

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/25 August)–The impending retrenchment at the Philippine Airlines won’t affect the company’s 25 organic personnel here contrary to the pronouncement of a Pal Employees Association (Palea) board member recently.

This, after Malacañang recently denied Palea’s motion to reconsider the national flag carrier’s proposal to outsource many of its services to recoup its losses.

On August 18, Eugene Cosare, Palea-Mindanao board member was quoted by a daily newspaper in Cebu City as saying the retrenchment of more than 2,600 employees will affect “25 workers in Cagayan de Oro City, 20 in Zamboanga City, nine each in Dipolog and Cotabato cities, 15 in General Santos City, and 11 in Butuan City.”

“We will not be affected with the retrenchment since we are directly under the sales department of the company,” said a senior supervisor of Pal Cagayan de Oro ticketing office. He declined to be named since he is not authorized to speak on the issue.

He said that employees who will be affected by the retrenchment are from the airport services of Manila and Mactan airports, in-flight catering and reservation offices of Manila.

“We have 25 organic employees here and we do not see any reason why we will be affected with the impending retrenchment,” he said.

He added they will not participate in any protest actions the other offices may have planned. In a statement, Palea members in Cebu and Davao said they will hold simultaneous protests in their cities.

In its two-page resolution, the Office of the President denied Palea’s motion for reconsideration, upholding Pal’s outsourcing program which will mean the retrench of at least 3,000 employees.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., in the resolution dated August 11, ruled that: “1. PAL can contract out its inflight catering services, airport services, and call center operations by outsourcing them to service providers; 2. The consequent retrenchment of the regular employees and union members is valid; and 3. PAL is not liable of unfair labor practices.”

Ochoa called the points raised by Palea in its petition as “mere rehash of those considered, discussed and ruled upon by the Secretary of Labor in her order dated 29 October 2010 and affirmed in our decision dated 25 March 2011.”

In a statement, Palea vowed to “fight this anti-labor policy of President Benigno Aquino III” and is preparing to appeal Malacañang’s decision at the Court of Appeals.

“If the Supreme Court will uphold our constitutional right to security of tenure, we will file an impeachment case against him for failing to protect our right,” the statement read.

Last Wednesday, Pal reported a net loss of US$10.6 million from April to June compared to the US$31.6 million it profited in the same period last year. Pal had also announced it needed a “restructuring program, including cutting down manpower costs, because of its P15-billion losses in 2008 and 2009.” (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)